Communication is critical in building trust in relationships. Each person brings their own past experiences, history and expectations into it. Plus people communicate differently – some are better at it than others. This is why it is critical that Business Reviews are scheduled and performed between Third Party Logistics providers and their customers. Because communication either makes or breaks a relationship. When you’re in the trenches working each day, sometimes shortcuts are established, and in many cases, our communication style can be brief and about as clear as mud!
To build that true partnership between 3PL’s and their customers, clear communication is necessary to build trust and a bond that establishes that both organizations are on the same page, understanding the expectations and needs to execute on the perfect order.
Business Reviews allow you to optimize your relationship by establishing short and long-term goals. The most effective reviews should include 1) reviewing the recent past, 2) evaluating the present and 3) preparing for the future. This structure allows data to be presented, benchmarking to be established and open conversations to anticipated challenges and opportunities.
However, while the structure of the Business Review is essential for both parties to prepare in advance, it will never be successful without some key communication tips:
STOP AND LISTEN
We want so much to be heard that we don’t spend time listening. Make sure that both parties have time to speak. During meetings it’s easy to want to keep things moving but sometimes we miss out on some of the deeper discussions that need to be said and to be heard. Make sure you don’t get caught up in the moment talking about your point. Make sure you HEAR what the other party is saying. Reflect on their comments by restating or rephrasing what they just said. Don’t be condescending about it but it helps by slowing your mind down and really hearing what is being said.
LOOK FOR NONVERBAL SIGNALS
We communicate a variety of ways. Nonverbal communication through body language, voice tone and inflection and eye contact can tell you things that may not be coming out of their mouths. This takes time and patience but is necessary if you want to really engage in deeper conversations.
· Folded arms — are they feeling defensive or closed off?
· Louder and aggressive tone – is the conversation escalating or becoming emotionally involved? Take a step back to make sure you’re hearing.
· Are they focused on other things (their computer, perhaps?) – are they disinterested in what you’re saying?
· Lack of eye contact – is this a difficult conversation that they are having and there is some discomfort?
BE OPEN AND HONEST
It’s difficult to be vulnerable and authentic. However, being transparent in your conversations allows you to have good and open communication. Honesty can set you up for some disappointment but can also allow the full potential of the relationship to be possible. Being REAL in your communication allows you to understand what is important to others and allows them a window to what is important to you.
GIVE YOUR FULL FOCUSED ATTENTION
With so many demands of our time, it’s easy to get disrupted with emails and phone calls. However, this dedicated time together allows you to concentrate fully on the here and now. It’s an investment in the future of your relationship. Stay focused.
You can also get sidetracked in conversations. You start with a topic that is on target and the next thing you know you’re talking about everything from your vacation trip to the new grandbaby! While those conversations are needed and necessary in building the relationship, there is a time and place. Our scheduled Review time is specific so it’s important to stay focused on the topic at hand and don’t veer off in a direction that eats up time and doesn’t allow you to talk to the points of the meeting agenda.
Building relationships can be rewarding with clear communication. Business Reviews are specific times in your relationship to “regroup” per se. Use those times effectively and efficiently and you will see the trust between both parties continue to build and flourish. Pacific Coast Warehouse believes in authentic communication with their customers. By LISTENING, by COLLABORATING and by EXECUTING they have been able to sustain a business in an ever-changing environment for 90 years! This powerful combination gives PCW customers a competitive advantage.